Transgender student allegedly told not to use school washrooms
Middle School Allegedly Excluded Trans Student from Participating in Active Shooter Drill
School board officials in Stafford County, Virginia face extreme criticism after allegedly excluding a trans middle school student from participating in a recent active-shooter drill, which is horrific enough on its own.
According to a Facebook post from Equality Stafford, a local LGBTQ-rights group, the student was told to sit alone in the hallway as her cisgender classmates filed into boys and girls locker rooms for the drill. Teachers reportedly debated where she should go before deciding upon the hall.
"When the drill began, a particular class of children took shelter in the bathroom/locker room nearest them as they were in PE," reads the Facebook post. "The student was forced to watch the adults charged with her care debate the safest place (for the other students) to have her shelter. During this debate, she was instructed to sit in the gym with a teacher until the drill was complete, away from her peers and identified as different."
The post clarifies that the student's PE teachers aren't at fault—they simply lacked guidance from the school board on what to do in this scenario.
Of course the scenario is traumatizing in its own right. Students across the country are increasingly being prepared to stay safe in the case of a school shooting. In this blundered drill, the 14-year-old trans student left in the hall was not only isolated for her gender identity, but was left in a vulnerable, dangerous place for the duration of the drill.
As reported by the , the student's mom met with Stafford Superintendent Scott Kizner about the incident.
"It doesn’t make me confident she’ll feel very safe, should there be an actual emergency," she said.
Kizner addressed the drill in a statement and in a school board meeting, according tothe Free Lance-Star.
"We did not live up to my unwavering expectation that every child and adult—regardless of race, religion, color, disability, gender and sexual orientation—is treated with respect and dignity and for that I apologize to the student, the family and the Stafford community,” Kizner said at the meeting.
At the same meeting, a friend of the excluded student read a letter she wrote to those assembled.
"If there was someone armed in my school, I would have been the first one gone," the letter read. "I felt like an afterthought. If the whole thing wasn’t bad enough, the embarrassment caused me to have a panic attack in front of everyone... I want you to stop treating me like I am a predator. It’s time for you to fix this."
Some schools in the Stafford school district require students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their assigned, rather than chosen, gender, reported theFree Lance-Star.No changes to existing school policy were made at the recent board meeting, though Superintendent Kizner's statement makes it seem as though the district is open to better serving all of its students.
Video: ‘Abuse’ or ‘dominating agenda’? Exclusion of trans student during lockdown drill sparks debate
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